Julia Kermode, CEO of the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA), took the opportunity to dispel the myths about Umbrella Companies during a recent meeting with Matthew Taylor
The meeting, which took place in Coventry late last week, was part of Mr Taylor’s nationwide tour to explore the changing nature of work in the modern UK economy.
Addressing a packed audience made up of academics, trade union representatives and workers engaged in the gig economy, Ms Kermode highlighted the substantial benefits of working via compliant Umbrella Companies and vigorously challenged a number of misleading myths that have gained some degree of traction in the media recently.
Also attending the meeting were trade unionists Hannah Reed for the TUC and Roger Maddison for Unite, Simon McVicker of the professional contracting organisation IPSE and Dr Jennifer Ferreira from Coventry University.
Sitting alongside Mr Taylor were co-panellists Greg Marsh, founder and erstwhile CEO and chair of hospitality company onefinestay, and Paul Broadbent of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA).
Following the discussion, Ms Kermode told Recruitment International that she was “delighted” to have been invited to meet Mr Taylor in Coventry to contribute evidence to his review.
Noting that the review’s findings are scheduled to be reported this summer, she emphasised for Mr Taylor and his colleagues the importance of contemporary facts about the UK workforce – notably, that 23 per cent of workers are engaged in non-permanent forms of work and that most have positively chosen this path.
Ms Kermode shared her concern that Mr Taylor may put conclusions to the Prime Minister this summer that could result in adverse implications for some. However, in response, Mr Taylor confirmed that his review “has no intention of disrupting this important workforce.”
Acknowledging that the review needs to consider the exploitative working practices of some employers, Ms Kermode underlined the fact that the FCSA has fought hard to bring about an end to false self-employment, a cause that Mr Taylor supports.
Describing good Umbrella Companies as a valuable component of the supply chain that enables those working through them to receive all the benefits of employment while engaged in a succession of short-term assignments, Ms Kermode added: “Compliant Umbrella firms are wholly transparent in their dealings with workers, providing them with a clear contract of employment, all statutory rights and benefits and transparency in how their pay is calculated. That message needs to be taken on board by the review panel so that we do not end up with a one-size-fits-all decision being put forward in the summer. It is important that all types of workers are properly considered.”